(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Ben Roethlisberger going under center has been a big topic this offseason, especially for people in the analytics community who harp on the fact that Roethlisberger doesn't run play-action a lot. When speaking with the media after today's OTAs practice for the first time this offseason, Roethlisberger addressed going under center in new offensive coordinator Matt Canada's offense.
“We’ve gone under center, we’ve got shotguns,” Roethlisberger said. “Yeah, he’s got more motions, but I feel that’s where the NFL’s kinda going right now with a lot of the jet sweep motions and stuff.”
“I can go under center. I never said I didn’t like it. We’ll be under center, we’ll be in the gun, we’ll move, I mean, we’ll throw a lot of different looks and schemes at people and see what works.”
Warren Sharp of Sharp Football today responded to a headline regarding the changes of the Steelers offense by tweeting, "Prove it by calling a play action pass on the first play of the season."
According to Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus, since 2016, the Steelers have a 12.3% play-action rate (last) and 6.1 yards per play-action dropback, which also ranks last.
The reason for the lack of play-action is a combination of the Steelers' running game being horrendous the last three years and Ben Roethlisberger not really being fond of turning his back to the defense. He would rather be in the shotgun to have a better read at the coverages.
According to Michael Lombardi of The Athletic, Roethlisberger last season was in the shotgun on 573 of his 608 passes. The Steelers also ran a lot of empty sets with four wide receivers on the field in 2020 and Roethlisberger attempted only 34 passes with two receivers on the field last season, per Lombardi.
"(Roethlisberger) hates playing under center, never wanting to turn his back to the defense, thus eliminating the play-action passes that might help the Steelers’ offense make chunk plays down the field," Lombardi wrote.
Mike Prisuta of WDVE posted a video on Twitter this afternoon of Roethlisberger working under center at today's OTAs practice.